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August 23, 2012

'Looped,' starring Valerie Harper, headed for Hippodrome, replaces 'Lombardi'

There is a change to the lineup for the Hippodrome's 2012-2013 Broadway Series -- from Lombardi to Lombardo.

The originally announced play for March 5-17, Eric Simonson's "Lombardi," about the famed football coach, is not going to be touring after all.

It will be replaced during that same time slot by Matthew Lombardo’s "Looped," a play about legendary actress Tallulah Bankhead starring multiple-Emmy Award-winner Valerie Harper.

"Looped," which had a brief run on Broadway in 2010, was inspired by a true incident in Bankhead's twilight years, when she had to ...

re-record a line of dialogue (the process is called "looping") for the 1965 horror flick "Die, Die, My Darling."

What should be a quick session in the sound studio turns into something much more complicated in Lombardo's play, when Bankhead arrives just a wee bit under the influence.

The touring production of "Looped" that will visit Baltimore is the Broadway version directed by Rob Ruggiero. Although not a hit in New York, the work did yield a best actress Tony nomination for Harper.

She enjoyed considerable success in the play from the start, with its 2008 premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse, and in subsequent appearances around the country, including Washington's Lincoln Theatre in a production by Arena Stage in 2009.

That D.C. presentation revealed Lombardo's flair for camp and sentiment, while the play provided a fine vehicle for the rich talents of Harper, best known for her indelible Rhoda on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff.

Harper, who starred in "Golda's Balcony" at the Hippodrome in 2006, said in a statement that she is "thrilled to be resuming the role of Tallulah Bankhead in a play that has brought me so much joy and excitement," and is "looking forward to returning to the Hippodrome Theatre and bringing this hysterically funny comedy to Broadway Across America audiences.”

Here's a little taste of what's in store:


Posted by Tim Smith at 10:03 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Drama Queens, Hippodrome

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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